Over the last 50 years in Victoria, women’s sporting facilities have not received the same funding as have those for men’s sports such as Cricket and Football. The current Government, through its Private/Public Partnership project have to some extent addressed this with construction of modern competition Basketball/Netball courts incorporated in both New School construction and school refurbishment projects. Utilising competition grade timber sports flooring, Nellakir has constructed many of these courts over recent times. The courts are then used by the schools and the broader local community for recreational use.
In itself the PPP program doesn’t guarantee access for all local competitions. Many Netball teams and competitions struggle to gain access to the premium facilities, based on the shortage of such facilities and the overwhelming demand for their usage by various groups.
Two such instances had an impact on this weeks news. The demolition of the Chadstone Bowling Club to make way for a new Sports Stadium that will cater for the Stonnington area over the next decade, providing a new facility for the existing population that is at present grossly underserviced facility wise. The case has received wide publicity. Stonnington Council estimates there will be at least 30,000 new arrivals in this area in the next decade. It pointed to the fact that currently for those wishing to play Netball, Basketball, Volleyball or other minor sports requiring Timber Sports Flooring in a designated stadium there is only one court for every 5190 residents who wish to play such sports. The ratio for more traditional, generally male dominated sports such as Cricket and Football is 724 residents per pitch or oval. Bowls or Tennis players rated 255 residents per court.
In Northcote the situation is demonstrably similar in terms of demographics and assets dedicated to those who choose to play the stadium based sports of Netball, Basketball, Volleyball or similar. There is a particular failing identified in the Darebin area, but by no means is it restricted to Darebin. Facilities for women and girls sports are manifestly inadequate across the board.
Blood on the courts in Northcote netball stoush
Anyone pining for a taste of Northcote’s lost reputation as a tough part of town should skip High Street’s bourgeois bars and boutiques and head for the junior netball courts.
Carly Kluge, president of the Parkside Netball Club, with players. Photo: Eddie Jim
“When you are really trying hard and go for a ball and miss you’ve got a lot of blood on elbows and knees going on; we’re constantly restocking first aid kits,” Parkside Netball Club president Carly Kluge said.
The club of 150 members trains on a lumpy car park that fills with puddles after it rains, or on outdoor courts at two neighbourhood primary schools, because it can’t get access to an indoor court.
Participation rates for netball in Darebin are much lower than average. Photo: Rob Gunstone
According to a 2014 council report there are just 13 netball courts in the city of Darebin, which has a population of almost 150,000.
The dearth of good netball courts is a problem that stretches right across the Northcote electorate, Darebin council says, unlike the male-dominated sports of cricket and football, which have numerous available fields on which to play.
With the political spotlight on Northcote, which faces a byelection on November 18, the council – four of whose nine councillors are Greens – has sought to pressure the Andrews government to build better facilities.
It wants the Labor government to help it build a $32 million indoor sports stadium, big enough for 5000 members, at the John Cain Memorial Park in Thornbury.
Darebin has committed $6.5 million of its own funds to the proposal and wants the Andrews government to invest $25 million.
The council has also proposed naming the stadium after Fiona Richardson, the Labor MP for Northcote and Minister for Women, whose death from cancer in August has forced the byelection.
The government has so far focused its campaign for Northcote on housing affordability and renters’ rights, in an electorate where median house prices have grown to well above $1 million.
The Greens have tried to wedge Labor on the continued logging of native forests.
The council’s whistle-blowing on the lack of sporting facilities for girls seeks to bring the campaign back to local issues.
“For more than a century the majority of public money has been invested in facilities that cater to men,” Darebin mayor Kim Le Cerf said.
The lack of good local facilities meant women and girls were forced to change in their cars, then play on substandard outdoor courts, Cr Le Cerf said.
“In 2017, why are we still letting girls down so badly?”
Minister for Sport John Eren said the government had already spent almost $2.5 million on building and upgrading netball courts in Darebin and did not rule out council’s proposed stadium.
“We’re already working closely with council on this proposal and are considering their application,” Mr Eren said.
A 2014 report by Netball Victoria found participation rates in Darebin were less than a third of the state average: just 0.70 per cent of people in the municipality play organised netball, compared with 2.3 per cent statewide.
Julie Zucco, president of the Darebin Netball Association, argued this was not for lack of interest.
Competition with other sports such as volleyball and basketball for scarce court space was so intense that the association had cut back the number of nights it has competitive matches from four to two a week, Ms Zucco said.
“New courts, new facilities would mean a huge impact for us,” she said.
“It would mean a lot more children would be able to get in and play sport where they may be missing out at this present stage.”
Nellakir are enthusiastic in supporting the further development of Basketball, Netball, Volleyball and Badminton facilities. As a company Nellakir is Victoria’s leading builder and supplier of high quality Sprung Timber Sports Flooring. When constructed Nellakir can provide sensible, practical long term maintenance programs for all competition rated Sports Flooring and Stadium Seating.
Call now on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here on our website and our team will contact you to further discuss your needs.
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